In addition to his burgeoning career as a virtuoso soloist, Finehouse also has been acclaimed as a collaborative pianist. He also has acquired something of a name as a performer of contemporary music — albeit of the hyper-romantic wing — but the most contemporary piece on this evening's program is one by Alexander Scriabin, dating from 1905.
Finehouse will play Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonata in F-Minor, Opus 2, No. 1; Johannes Brahms' Intermezzo in A-Major, Opus 118, No. 2; Scriabin's Two Poems, Opus 32; Sergei Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G Minor, Opus 23, No. 5; and Frederic Chopin's Polonaise-Fantaisie in Ab-Major, Opus 61.
This is, to say the least, a romantic program, almost a history of the romantic piano. (When I say "romantic," I mean only that it is music that deliberately bypasses the rational mind of the listener and seeks to address the unconscious and the emotions directly.) It is, indeed, virtually a history of the composer-pianist as a romantic virtuoso, from the advent of Beethoven in the salons and concert-stages of Vienna to the death of Rachmaninff, a morose exile, in Beverly Hills, on March 28, 1943, 56 days after he became an American citizen.
In between, we get Chopin and Brahms; and somewhere out on the lunatic fringe, we get Scriabin, the greatest of all the genius-charlatans that romanticism spawned (he really was a genius; he really was a charlatan).
All of these composers were themselves among the most celebrated pianists of their times, yet they were all, even Beethoven, poets first, virtuosos second (maybe that is why there is no Liszt.)
Scriabin is a great favorite of Russian pianists, and I'm pretty sure that accounts for his continuing presence on our recital programs. If Rachmaninff, Horowitz, Gould and Richter all think he's someone we ought to listen to, who are we to say nay?
For more information about this concert and other musical events on campus, call the Westmont Music Department at 805.565.6040.